Tony is a youth worker for the Edge & Rock, a joint youth project run by two Churches in Banchory, Aberdeenshire. He spends his time being a dad, a husband, and helping people make contact, make friends and make disciples – mostly by creating opportunities and excuses for people to spend time together and build relationships. He’s been at it since 1995 and still gets asked when he’s going to get a proper job.
Ever felt that Jesus came to start a movement, and you seem to be propping up an institution? That Jesus invited people to a wedding feast, and yet you feel like you’re at a funeral service?
At school I was forced to do Scottish Country Dancing. I hated it. I was faced with arcane things like “Pas de basque” and getting the steps right, and worse I had to dance with girls. So, at exactly the same time each week, I fell prey to a sudden sore tummy and sat firmly out.
My first week in Banchory I was dragged to a Ceilidh. There I learned a secret. Young folk here couldn’t give a hoot about getting the steps right. You’re as likely to see them bouncing around like kangaroos, or pulling shapes like Beyonce, as you are of seeing a pas de basque or a formal set. I loved it. For them, it’s not about getting the steps right. It’s about dancing yourselves dizzy, laughing yourselves hoarse, and squeezing every drop of flavour from the day. (And by the way, where else can folks get the safe physical contact that we’re all hard-wired for, but there’s no room for in our society?).
Mark writes about some people challenging Jesus, “Why do the followers of John the baptiser and the Pharisees take on the discipline of fasting, but your followers don’t?”
Jesus comeback is perfect, “When you’re celebrating a wedding, you don’t skimp on the cake and wine. You feast. As long the groom is with you, you have a good time.”
Not a week goes by where I don’t hear a bad-news story about the “Youth of today.” Someone once said he’d be more interested in Christianity if Christians looked a bit more like they had been saved. Well, come and dance with us sometime and we’ll show you young people who know exactly what Jesus was getting at.